Christ’s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple
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Christ's Fulfillment of Torah and Temple is a concise introduction to the Christian theology of salvation in light of the contributions of Thomas Aquinas. In this cogent study, Matthew Levering identifies six important aspects of soteriology, each of which corresponds to an individual chapter in the book. Levering focuses on human history understood in light of the divine law and covenants, Jesus the Incarnate Son of God and Messiah of Israel, Jesus' cross, transformation in the image of God, the Mystical Body of Christ into which all human beings are called, and eternal life. Taking the doctrines of faith as his starting point, Levering's objective is to answer the questions of both Christians and non-Christians who desire to learn how and for what end Jesus "saves" humankind. Levering's work also speaks directly to contemporary systematic theologians. In contrast to widespread assumptions that Aquinas's theology of salvation is overly abstract or juridical, Levering demonstrates that Aquinas's theology of salvation flows from his reading of Scripture and deserves a central place in contemporary discussions.



Publié par
Date de parution 15 avril 2002
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268161248
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 2 Mo

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Christ s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple
Christ s Fulfillment of Torah and Temple

Salvation according to Thomas Aquinas
Notre Dame, Indiana
University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556
All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2002 by University of Notre Dame
Published in the United States of America
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Levering, Matthew Webb, 1971-
Christ s fulfillment of Torah and temple : salvation according to Thomas Aquinas / Matthew Levering.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-268-02272-0 (cloth : alk. paper)
ISBN 0-268-02273-9 (pbk. : alk. paper)
1. Salvation. 2. Catholic Church-Doctrines. 3. Thomas, Aquinas, Saint, 1225?-1274-Contributions in doctrine of salvation. I. Title.
BT 755 . L 48 2002
ISBN 9780268161248
This book is printed on acid-free paper .
This e-Book was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at .
PART 1 The Fulfillment of Israel s Torah
1 Divine Law and Divine Pedagogy
2 Incarnate Wisdom in Israel
3 The Cross of Jesus Christ
PART 2 The Fulfillment of Israel s Temple
4 To the Image of the Firstborn Son
5 Israel, the Church, and the Mystical Body of Christ
6 The Heavenly Jerusalem
T his book began as a dissertation at Boston College, so I am especially grateful to the members of my board. I was unusually blessed to work with such teachers. Stephen F. Brown s enthusiasm for the project, and willingness to direct it, meant much to a young graduate student and improved the outcome enormously. Fr. Matthew L. Lamb guided me through the doctoral program and offered numerous suggestions and corrections for the dissertation. Fr. Romanus Cessario, O.P., mentored me in Thomistic theology and gave me my first insights into Aquinas s theology of Christ and salvation. His teaching inspired me to undertake this project. While in the doctoral program I was supported financially by a doctoral fellowship from Boston College and by summer grants from the Bradley foundation for the years 1997-2000. My colleagues and students at Ave Maria College, especially William Riordan and Dominic Aquila, enriched this work by their conversation and friendship.
Other teachers and friends who contributed, in various important ways, to this work include Barbara Appleby, Christine Bowie, Fr. Bevil Bramwell, O. M. I., Fr. John Connelly, Michael Dauphinais, Tom s Fernandez-Whipple, Shirley Gee, Timothy Gray, Fr. Robert Imbelli, Susan Keefe, Paul LaChance, Fr. Antonio Lopez, Fr. Edward P. Mahoney, Donald Mathews, Michael Miller, Jason Pannone, Fr. Louis Roy, O.P., Lillian Smith, Michael Terranova, David Vanderhooft, and Jeremy Wilkins. Fr. David Burrell, C. S. C., Stanley Hauerwas, and Thomas Hibbs generously read the dissertation and gave valuable input as I was revising it for publication.
In the last stages before publication, Fr. Gilles Emery, O.P., and an anonymous reader at the University of Notre Dame Press greatly improved the book through their comments and criticisms; to them I owe heartfelt thanks. Jeffrey Gainey, associate director of the University of Notre Dame Press, did a magnificent job of guiding the book to publication. I am grateful to Gregory LaNave for reading the penultimate draft with his keen editorial eye.
Without the support given by my family, I would never have been able to undertake the work. To my parents, Ralph and Patricia Levering, along with my brother Brooks, I owe the greatest debt and deepest gratitude. My grandparents and aunts and uncles were also a cherished influence. My parents-in-law, Lynn and Ann Moretz, and sister-in-law, Jan Moretz, have shown extraordinary love. The generosity of my grandmother, Mrs. Irene B. Webb, made possible this book. To my children, David and Andrew, and my beloved wife Joy, I owe far more than can be expressed.
In short, the book, while its flaws are my own, is a result of many blessings. In gratitude to the author of all blessings, of which the foremost is salvation, I dedicate the book to our Creator.
T his book had its origins in a challenge posed to me by a friend. He remarked that no one had ever given him a coherent explanation of the belief that the acts of Jesus of Nazareth could be salvific for him today, two thousand years later. It seems to me that his question requires an answer consisting of at least six aspects.
First, my friend would need to be introduced briefly to the dynamic of salvation history. Since Christianity proclaims that God has acted in history, through the covenants with Israel and the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, to save humankind, an account would need to be given of God s overarching plan. Second, he would need an account of Jesus person, and of Jesus ministry in Israel, that would show how Jesus in particular was able to enact God s purposes for the salvation of the world. Third, he would need to understand Jesus cross in a way that would place Jesus suffering and death in the historical context of God s covenants with Israel and the prophets proclamation that the whole world would be redeemed through Israel s Messiah. Fourth, he would need to grasp what is meant by the claim that those united to Christ become temples of the Holy Spirit by sharing in Christ s suffering and resurrection. Fifth, he would need to see how salvation in Christ, far from being an individualistic transaction, is a participation in the salvation of the world through inclusion in Christ s Mystical Body. Finally, he would need to have a sense of the ultimate destination or goal, because salvation ends not in earthly existence but in eternal life in communion with the Trinity.
These six aspects correspond to the chapters of the book. In brief, the first chapter is about human history understood in light of the divine law and covenants, the second about Jesus the incarnate Son of God and Messiah of Israel, the third about Jesus cross, the fourth about being transformed in the image of the risen Lord, the fifth about the Mystical Body of Christ into which all human beings are called, and the sixth about eternal life.
As such, this book is an introduction to Christian theology of salvation. Taking the doctrines of faith as my starting point, I hope to answer the questions of those (Christians and non-Christians) who desire to learn about how and for what end Jesus saves humankind. The book is also, however, an invitation to learn about these questions by studying in detail the theology of a Christian saint and teacher, Thomas Aquinas. The reader might wonder why I consider Thomas Aquinas to be such an important guide into the mystery of salvation. It might seem that expecting a thirteenth-century theologian to inform modern, historically minded persons about the significance of Jesus of Nazareth is a misguided endeavor, given the progress that theological and exegetical studies have made since Aquinas s day.
Other theologians have answered this question before me. Jean-Pierre Torrell perhaps has put the matter best: It would be absurd to pretend that Thomas has the answer to all our questions, but we can be confident that his reading illumines the work of our salvation, and that, following him, one can speak of the work of salvation in a more sane and more balanced way. 1 Without suggesting that any theologian knows all the answers, one can affirm that Aquinas s answers-and the sapiential structure of his questions-draw the student into the heart of the theological task of pondering the mysteries of the work of salvation.
Furthermore, contemporary progress has made possible a renewed appreciation of Thomas Aquinas s theology of salvation. Spurred by contemporary biblical exegetes-some of whom I will discuss in these pages-most Christian theologians now recognize that no Christian account of salvation is possible that abstracts from the covenants and law of the people into which Jesus was born, the people of Israel. 2 At the same time, theologians today investigate medieval theology with a deepened appreciation of the fact that it derived primarily from lectio divina , the reading of Scripture. The recovery of this perspective in this century received its impetus from the contribution of neoscholastic theologians. 3 As M.-D. Chenu noted, Aquinas s systematic Summa is implanted in and fed with a continuous study of Scripture its most perfect rational structures are never an end, but a means to arrive at a better knowledge of the Word of God. 4 Theological interpretation of the Summa Theologiae cannot proceed without continual attention to the Summa s scriptural fount. 5 As we will see, at the heart of Thomas Aquinas s scientific theology of salvation lies the narrative of Scripture-the fulfillment of Israel s Torah and Temple through the New Covenant in Christ Jesus. One can thus expect to find in Aquinas s theological questioning-his interweaving of dialectical enquiry and scriptural narrative 6 -a guide that reveals the meaning of the apostolic witness that the Scriptures have been fulfilled in Jesus of Nazareth.
By way of exploring the Christian meaning of Jesus saves and salvation, I will therefore draw upon both Thomas Aquinas s theology, especially as found in mature form in his Summa Theologiae , and the work of contemporary biblical exegetes and theologians. It is worth noting that there already exist valuable commentar

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